Portage-Lisgar Residents Want Referendum on Electoral Reform

October 19, 2016

Written by Candace Derksen

The MP for Portage-Lisgar says the results of a riding-wide survey send a clear message to Ottawa. Candice Bergen recently sent a questionnaire to each household in the riding to gauge constituent support or non-support for a referendum on the Liberal’s electoral reform plan.

“We felt that as a Conservative party that it was very important that Canadians were told what those different choices might be on how to change the system and then have their chance to voice their opinion in a referendum,” explains Bergen. “So I wanted to get some feedback from the people in Portage-Lisgar to see if they wanted a referendum or if they thought that it would ok for politicians in Ottawa to make that decision for them.”

Bergen goes on to say that the question on the mail-out didn’t endorse any particular side of the discussion but rather asked, “Do you want to have a referendum? Do you want to have a direct say in how our electoral system is changed, if it’s changed.” She says feedback came in to her office for about six weeks with 646 households having answered the survey, noting a good cross section of responses came in from across the riding. After tallying up all of the survey results, Bergen says 622 – or 92 per cent – supported holding a referendum which she feels sends a strong message to Ottawa, one that she can take with full confidence to the Standing Committee on Electoral Reform.

“I will be submitting these results to this committee and asking them to take serious consideration to the results from the riding of Portage-Lisgar when it comes to making decisions on how we move forward on electoral reform and what that looks like.”

Bergen goes on to say that these results are in keeping with the rest of Canada as well, noting her Conservative Party colleagues also sent these mail-outs to their constituents. In total, she says almost 82,000 households responded and results indicate overwhelming support for a referendum.

The MP adds there is a strong precedent of other countries, like New Zealand, taking the question of electoral reform to the people and holding a referendum, noting people understand the proposal and want to have a say.

In fact, Bergen believes electoral reform is one of the most important issues facing Canadians right now.

“If the Liberals change our electoral system by just a handful of politicians making that decision and they change it so it benefits themselves, this will have a ripple effect and a long term effect that I think Canadians won’t be happy with.”